What I will write. I will write.
( a slightly different version of quod scripsi. But I don’t know if I care about the difference.)
Of Making do
Making do is like you are constipated. You feel uncomfortable with the digestive juices churning inside your tummy. But somehow you manage to live the day, waiting impatiently for the next day's morning release. You wait but you have to adjust to discomfort. Likewise happens in life. We have to adjust to the discomforts and challenges of life and live on waiting with a wait.
If you ask me who makes do in life?
I will say, everybody.
All of humanity faces this struggle. All day. Everyday.
Okay. Hold on!
I will try to explain this better-
My heart finds devout faith in two things- my Gods and my education i.e. science. Thanks to my MA from St. Joseph’s I have found a deep curiosity ‘to know’! This propensity, towards ‘love for knowledge’ ( going by its etymology) surely stands as the reason why I took up a double MA in Philosophy! Curiosity is like the horizon, the nearer you go to it, the farther you feel away from it.
Well, let my thoughts not disappear like the street dog does at a gulley. So, going back to what I said about my two ‘faiths’ ( wrong English. I know. I am a teacher of English), science tells me God does not exist, and believing in God means denying the evolution of man. The incessant urge to find the Truth existing between Science and God positions me in the middle void between these two because the answer is elusive and it will be elusive for time infinity. But my urge to get to the bottom of the events makes my struggle constant, but all along I know that I will never know. I am making do with the fact that I cannot have the answer and I will not know. I have chosen to cite this example because for me, this making do feels eternally laborious just like the bulldoze that Sisyphus carries up the slope only to roll downhill again and again and again.
Well, you see I am adjusting to God’s will of not letting me know. So, I am making do with whatever residual knowledge I can access from the world. This sounds trivial and snobbish but actually, it’s not at all like that. I hope you understand. It’s like I am promised my favourite ‘matar da parantha with ‘white makhan maarke’ and ‘aam da achaar’ but I am given ‘sukhi gheeless roti’ because the supposedly exhaustible resource of the earth ‘matar, white makhan and aam da achaar’ have got replenished forever from the earth’s surface and mankind can never see or hear of these now. That’s what making do feels like with the elusive body of ‘can-never-be-known knowledge’.
Perhaps this makes me deeply wonder if Adam and Eve’s Disobedience to God in the Garden of Eden is really true... and man is really a cursed being, who has to make do with the leftovers of God’s mercy. It also makes me think if everyone in life only makes do to live the evanescent life only to die the irrefutable death.
Now, on reflection, I can’t help being optimistic about the whole making-do affair at the same time. It feels like a caged bird that can’t help but strain his voice and ergo sings of his thoughts and emotions or maybe even his constipated self ( in reference to the beginning of this essay to be made ). Patane. Who knows!
I am a two years old toddler when it comes to teaching. I am a teacher who never stopped feeling like a student. The I-am-a-teacher feeling is like dawn for me. Newday(s)! Or if I conjecture correctly this feeling is a long night for me. I don’t know.
( Yeah! Okay! You can think out loud. Yes! There are a lot of things I don’t know and don’t have answers for.
You have to make do with this fact now! )
Anyway, we were talking about my existentialist being as a teacher. I have to make do with a lot of things in this profession. I have to deal with very well-behaved gentle(adolescents ) preferably of class XII. These ( so-called- kids ) without an ounce of doubt, can make our own dear Mogli feel insecure about his jugleepanaa. There is no comedy circle going so. I did mean what I said!
Please ! allow me to proceed with this only after sharing a small incident with you.
Once upon a time, there lived a teacher. Thanks to the perks of being a teacher, she wanted to test her students for their lessons. She, thus, decided to conduct a test and she did. The big day arrived. She began by distributing the question papers. The teacher felt like sweet fragrant sunshine that could tempt even the most hard-to-get Queen of the Queen bees.
So blissful she looked and felt... when ... the most villainous of the bees took notice of her. He stood up with his standing sting ( the question paper of course) and crushed it neatly into a ball - the size of big ‘motichuur ka ladoo’ and... put it in his mouth.
Nothing much... except ... the fragrant shining flower was stung sharply by the villainous bee but she only smiled. The teacher- a placid sea turned into a silent tumultuous one.
This smiling, the holding on, the fighting back notwithstanding the odds, is what making do means. You must have guessed by now that the teacher in reference is me. As a teacher I realize, I have to make do in a lot of such situations, where I feel totally helpless.
What would scolding or counseling help me in this situation? I could not slap the student ( against the norms of the school). I could not be impulsive and put down my papers (against the norms of my hard-earned master’s degree ). What could I do? I knew one thing that I could not ‘not do’ because a voice inside me told me that I had ‘to do’. So if I didn’t want to feel defeated with the challenge then I had to adjust to what is.
I dealt with the bitter digestive juices building up in my mouth. I overcame the discomfort as thought about the next day's morning release that would make my tummy feel okay. So, I stood strong and powerful like the Statue of Liberty and pushed a ( fake ) enigmatic Mona Lisa Smile and became Jhansi ki Rani or something.
Actually, teachers have to make do with a lot of such challenging situations. Some questions arise in my mind. What if I had reacted differently? What if I had shouted back and insulted the student for being ill-mannered? In all probability, an altercation as bitter as bitter gourd would merely be the consequence. There would be no forbearance and hence no fruition. I was hopeful and didn’t give up. Instead, I adjusted for the better. This is what make-do means.
Perhaps, making do can be understood as an attitude with which we face our lives every day. Making do is an internal thing. It can be with hope, patience, might, and strength of a mountain.
When I saw strength it involves a process of adjustment. This process of adjustment is cathartic. Catharsis promises the calm after the storm, but to experience it one needs to face the storm. The journey to catharsis is testing. One does arise ‘purified’ like the Phoenix rising from its own ashes. But to arrive at this stage, one needs to first put oneself to flames. One needs to feel one's body burn down into ashes- then take re-birth to emerge as the Phoenix renewed.
Yes! ‘Renewed’ is the word. I hope that I have been able to get you to understand what making do is as I see it. I can only give you the lens but you must do the looking yourself. Making do is challenging, yet the inner change that it enforces in you is something with high a magnitude like an earthquake that shakes off the earth in you- the only difference being that this earthquake does no damage but revolutionizes your soul.
[I wrote this article a few years ago for an essay competition. I have posted it exactly as I wrote it then. It is interesting to see evidence of how one's own writing has evolved with time and effort. Indeed, critiquing and laughing at one's own work is fun and healthy.]
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